Welcome to the Little Tokyo Blog

We've set up this space where members of the Little Tokyo community could share information, thoughts, ideas, and opinions about the Little Tokyo neighborhood, it's people, politics, culture/history, businesses, and events.


DOR 09 ~ today @ 2

Saturday, February 21, 2009
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Japanese American National Museum
369 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA

The Day of Remembrance is held each year to commemorate President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's signing of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. EO 9066 authorized the unconstitutional forced removal of 120,000 Japanese Americans from the west coast and Hawai'i during World War II.

Mass incarceration of Japanese Americans was accepted by the majority of US Citizens because of the racial prejudice that existed toward a community of immigrants. Alien Land Laws prevented Japanese Issei's the right to own land, anti-miscegenation laws prevented them from marrying outside their race, and the "American" community was generally unwilling to incorporate these immigrants into mainstream society. Now 67 years later, this same prejudice and stigma around immigration still exists. The 2009 Day of Remembrance program will commemorate Japanese American immigration while creating connections to the current day debate. The program seeks to forge alliances and stand in solidarity with a new generation of communities working towards positive change in immigration reform and integration in a new America.

*Keynote Address: Professor Roger Daniels, Charles Taft Phelps Professor Emeritus, University of Cincinnati. Prisoners Without Trial: Japanese Americans in WWII
*NCRR Fighting Spirit Award: Lillian Nakano
*Voices of Immigration: Issei Stories & UCLA IDEAS-Zeenat Bhamani, Wendy Ito, Matias Ramos
* Rapper: Prophet
*Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-31)
*Justice for Japanese Latin Americans

Presented in collaboration with the Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress, the Japanese American Citizen’s League–Pacific Southwest, UCLA Asian American Studies Center, Lane Hirabayashi (The George & Sakaye Aratani Chair in Japanese American Internment, Redress and Community), and the National Museum.


Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story

Posted on behalf of Kevin Sanada, who's working on the Little Tokyo Recreation Center campaign:

Basketball has undoubtedly evolved into a premier social institution for California JA’s. From the San Jose Zebras to the West Covina Sabers, from the Sacramento Barons to F.O.R., there are ballplayers of all ages perfecting their jump shots, coordinating the 1-3-1 trap, gearing up for tournament season, and, of course, getting yelled at to box out. Despite its popularity and importance in the community, however, many are unfamiliar with the most influential Japanese American ballplayer in the history of the sport.

On February 15th, JACCC and the Little Tokyo Recreation Center will sponsor a screening of Bruce Alan Johnson and Christine Toy Johnson’s film Transcending: the Wat Misaka Story, documenting the life of Wataru “Wat” Misaka, a 5’7” point guard drafted in the first round of the 1947-1948 NBA draft. He was the first ethnic minority to play in the NBA, paving the way not only for JA’s, but for individuals of all races and colors.

As the dream of a Little Tokyo Recreation Center becomes a reality, we want to look to the future while remembering and honoring those who made everything possible in years past. Basketball will continue to flourish in Los Angeles, as there will soon be a central venue for tournaments, leagues, and other events available to the public. JACCC and LTSC share a belief in the preservation of Japanese American culture through education and hope that you will join us as we examine the life of an extremely influential JA.

Justin Lin’s short documentary Crossover, a study on the popularity and history of JA leagues and tournaments, will also be screened. An informational session about the future Recreation Center will take place as well, in case you have any questions. Hope to see you all there!

When: February 15, 2009 @ 2pm
Where: Aratani / Japan America Theatre
Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
244 S. San Pedro Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tickets: $10 Gen Admission
$8 Students/Seniors/Groups
$7 JACCC, JANM, & VC Members

For more information or to reserve tickets, please call (213) 628-2725. A percentage of proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Little Tokyo Recreation Center capital campaign.


Some Refreshing Changes to Our Little Tokyo Strolls

[Thanks to Ron for the tip]

Last week the City of Los Angeles began construction of pedestrian improvements throughout Little Tokyo. The improvements include sidewalk repairs, tree guard and tree well work, tree planting and crosswalk stamping.

The crosswalks are going to be stamped with a decoration that incorporates a stylized fan graphic. This is a rendering of the one that'll be at the intersection of San Pedro and 2nd Streets:

The plans also call for outdoor benches in the design of full and half moons with origami or fan design elements.

These improvements, including pedestrian lights that were installed last fall, are part of the Little Tokyo Pedestrian Linkages project to improve pedestrian safety in the neighborhood and access to the Little Tokyo/Arts District Gold Line Station.

Most of these changes are going to be on San Pedro Street between 1st and 3rd; Central Avenue between 2nd and 3rd; 2nd between Central Ave and Los Angeles Street; and 3rd Street between Central Ave and San Pedro Street.

The project partners include the MTA, LADOT, Bureau of Street Services, CRALA, Councilwoman Jan Perry, Ted Tokio Tanaka Architects and LTSC. If folks have questions, they can contact Austin Kano at the LA Department of Transportation at 213-972-4979.


Korean BBQ to Go (for a bit of a wait)!

OK, so there are some more important things happening in Little Tokyo than Pinkberry's 4 year birthday sale...like the new Thursday night Kogi Truck at JANM!

They're coming back tomorrow at 5 PM. Get there early, people have waited up to 40 minutes for their kalbi tacos. These Korean Meat guys are nuts.

Project: Community! 2009 is looking for interested High School Students!

The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is proud to announce the Statewide 2009 Project: Community! program intended to empower the High School youth voice in the Japanese American community.

Why: The purpose of Project: Community is to develop and empower the youth’s voice in Little Tokyo. Through a series of interactive sessions participants will gain an understanding of identity as well as the importance of preservation in the Japanese American community.

What: Each session will gather facilitators and speakers from various parts of the community to conduct workshops focused on specific topics ranging from identity, to the power of place, to grassroots organizing on a youth level. With 2009 being the second year JACL hopes to once again create an enriching and meaningful experience for our participants.

When: The program begins on June 23 and will run until August 18 meeting every Tuesday at 6:00pm until 9:30pm.

Where: The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center

Applications are available upon request. The deadline for applications is April 18, 2009.

For more information please contact the JACL Pacific Southwest District Program Coordinator Kene Kubo via email Programs@jaclpsw.org or (213) 626-4471.